What Lisa Watched This Morning #189: My Little Girl Is Gone (dir by Ben Meyerson)


Today, I watched My Little Girl Is Gone, which premiered on the Lifetime Movie Network last night.

Why Was I Watching It?

As I stated above, My Little Girl Is Gone actually aired last night.  Usually, I make it a point to watch the latest Lifetime movie as soon as it airs but, last night, I was exhausted.  Seriously, SyFy’s shark week has taken a lot out of me!  So, I set the DVR and I watched it this morning.

Beyond the fact that I’m trying to make room on my DVR (I’ve currently got about 7 hours of recording space still available), I also watched this movie because Lifetime has a history of good kidnapping films.  At its best, Lifetime is about bringing to life everyone’s most basic fears.  I don’t know any mother who wouldn’t be terrified about her child suddenly vanishing.

What Was It About?

It’s about kidnapping and murder and romance and all the rest!

Stephanie (Sarah Lind) is looking forward to a good life.  Not only is she about to make a fortune designing handbags but she’s also engaged to marry the handsome and rich Jameson (Robb Derringer).  Jameson is about to become the stepfather to Stephanie’s daughter, Caitlin (Dylan Raine Woods), and Stephanie is become the stepmother to Jameson’s teenage son, Shane (Braeden Carl).

There’s only a few problems.  For one thing, Stephanie’s ex, Henry (Philip Boyd), doesn’t seem to be too happy about the engagement.  Secondly, Stephanie is getting strange phone calls from someone who is telling her not to marry Jameson and warning that, if she does, her daughter will be abducted.  When Stephanie ignores the caller and marries Jameson, Caitlin promptly vanishes.

Could it be Henry trying to break up Stephanie’s marriage?  Or does Jameson have secrets of his own?

What Worked?

The film’s main mystery was a good one.  Even though the pay-off was a bit disappointing, I was intrigued by who had kidnapped Caitlin and I was also curious about what exactly Jameson was hiding behind his superficial charm.  Dylan Raine Woods and Braeden Carl both gave good and natural performances as the two stepchildren and C.J. Valleroy had some funny moments as Shane’s best friend, Eli.

What Did Not Work?

The mystery was intriguing but the solution sadly wasn’t.  The story’s ultimate villain was a bit too obvious. so it wasn’t really a shock when their true nature was revealed.

As well, it never seemed like there was enough panic when Caitlin disappeared.  Everyone seemed to adjust to her absence pretty easily.  At times, I found myself wondering if the family really wanted her back.

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moments

Caitlin handled being kidnapped with cheerfulness and positivity.  If I had been kidnapped at that age, I like to think that I would have handled it as well as Caitlin did.

Lessons Learned

Be careful who you trust.  The handbag business is ruthless af!

What Lisa Watched Last Night #188: Killer Twin (dir by David Langlois)


Last night, I watched the latest Lifetime original film, Killer Twin!

Why Was I Watching It?

Well, it was on Lifetime, of course.

Plus, I love movies about evil twins!

What Was It About?

As babies, twin sisters Amber and Kendra were both abandoned at the same orphanage.  The head of the orphanage, Eunice (Bronwen Smith), took an instant dislike to Amber but always liked Kendra.  When it looked like the sisters had a chance to be adopted, Eunice arranged for Kendra to go off with new parents while Amber remained at the orphanage.

30 years later and Kendra doesn’t even remember that she had a sister.  However, Amber remembers.  Kendra has a great life, with a good job and a nice husband (Jason Cermak) and a big house.  Amber has … well, Amber has a lot of bitterness.  When Amber manages to track down Kendra, she sets out to make her sister’s life a living Hell.  That means breaking into her house, ruining her credit, lusting after her husband, and … even murder!

(They couldn’t call it Killer Twin if one of the twins wasn’t a killer!)

What Worked?

Occasionally, a supporting character will pop up in one of these movies and, despite having limited screen time, they’ll become something of a cause célèbre  for those of us watching.  In Killer Twin, that character was Marvin (Nelson Wong).  Marvin was a totally nice, friendly, and professional guy who worked at a bank.  When he suspected that Amber might be imitating her sister, Amber reacted by hitting him in the head with a safe deposit box and then running out of the bank.

Now, here’s the thing.  Amber hit Marvin pretty hard.  A lot of us were convinced that Marvin was dead.  BUT NO!  Marvin not only lived but he went back to his desk and called the police!  YAY MARVIN!  After that happened, I think we all definitely wanted Justice for Marvin.

As for the rest of this film, it was a good and entertaining Lifetime movie.  It was totally over-the-top, melodramatic, and fun.  Lindsay Hartley was obviously having a ball getting to play two totally opposite characters and director David Langlois and cinematography Jan Klompje brought some visual flair to the story.  There was one shot in particular, in which Amber seemed to literally emerge from the Seattle fog, that was especially impressive.  Visually, Lifetime films have come a long way.

What Didn’t Work?

It all worked!  If you can’t enjoy a good killer twin movie, I worry about you.

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moments

You know, at the start of the movie, I was pretty much Team Amber.  I mean, I went through a whole period of time when I only wore black and I refused to smile and I’m actually kind of amazed that people put up with me while all that was going on.  I knew that Amber was serious about her scheme when she removed her nose ring because seriously, nose rings are almost as painful to take out as they are to put in!  I speak from personal experience.

But then, of course, Amber hit Marvin and I lost sympathy for her.  Leave Marvin alone!

Lessons Learned

Marvin is indestructible and evil twin movies are always fun!

What Lisa Watched Last Night #187: The Wrong Cruise (dir by David DeCoteau)


Last night, I watched the latest Lifetime premiere, The Wrong Cruise!

Why Was I Watching It?

Well, the obvious answer is that it was on Lifetime and I always watch Lifetime original films.  I’m running a little bit behind in reviewing all of them and, for that, I apologize.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to get caught up next week!

The other reason that I was watching The Wrong Cruise was because it was a “wrong” movie.  As any regular Lifetime watcher knows, there are several different genres of Lifetime movies, each with their own quirks and rules.  There’s the “Killer” movies, which usually feature Barbie Castro.  There’s the “at 17” movies.  There’s the “Deadly” movies.  And then there’s the “Wrong” movies.  Several of these films — including The Wrong Cruise — were directed by David DeCoteau and usually featured Vivica A. Fox and William McNamara in memorable supporting roles.  The “Wrong” movies are always a lot of fun.

What Was It About?

Ever since her father died, teenager Sky Tanner (Sidney Nicole Rogers) has been acting out.  After throwing a punch at track meet, Sky finds herself on the verge of being expelled from school!  Uh-oh!

Fortunately, for Sky, it looks like she’s about to get a break from the stress of dealing with high school.  Her mother, Claire (Vivica A. Fox), is booked on a cruise to Mexico and there’s no way that Claire’s going to leave Sky home alone.

At first, it seems like the perfect vacation!  Claire meets a man named Dante (Andres Londono).  Sky meets a teenage boy named Rico (Adrian Quinta).  Love is in the air!  Dante is charming and quite insistent that Claire go sailing with him.  As for Rico, he’s willing to buy drinks for the underage Sky and he’s more than happy to show Sky around Mexico.

If, at this point, you’re saying, “I don’t trust either of them!,” you’re not alone.  After you’ve seen enough Lifetime films, you know better than to trust any charming stranger.  Add to that, while Sky is drinking with Rico and Claire is flirting with Dante, there’s a creepy ship’s mate (played by William McNamara) who seems to be determined to keep an eye on both of them.  What’s up with that?

What Worked?

This one was a lot of fun, largely because Vivica A. Fox and Sidney Nicole Rogers were totally and completely believable as mother and daughter.  Every time that Claire said something overprotective and Sky reacted by sighing and rolling her eyes, the more you found herself believing in their characters.  When they inevitably ended up getting into trouble, the stakes felt real because the mother/daughter relationship felt real.

Londono and Quinta both did work as Dante and Rico but the film was ultimately stolen by William McNamara.  For such a handsome actor, he’s really good at playing creepy Lifetime movie villains.

What Did Not Work?

I would have liked to have spent a little more time on the cruise ship.  For a film called The Wrong Cruise, it seemed like the boat was a little underused.  Then again, maybe I just want to go on a cruise…

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moments

I didn’t run track in high school but, if I had, I would hope that I would have had just as combative an attitude towards my competitors as Sky had towards her’s.

Also, like Sky, I spent a lot of my teenage years rolling my eyes at overprotective parental figures.

Lessons Learned

Never get out of the boat.

What Lisa Watched Last Night #186: Killer Caregiver (dir by John Murlowski)


Last night, I watched the latest Lifetime movie premiere, Killer Caregiver!

Why Was I Watching It?

Why not?

What Was It About?

While visiting one of her clients, Mariah Wilson (Nicole Hayden) is shocked when an accident leads to not only his death but also to her breaking her arm.  With months of physical therapy ahead of her, Mariah hires a home caregiver.  Tara (Camila Banus) seems like she’s perfect.  She gets along with Mariah’s estranged husband, Greg (George Stults).  She helps Mariah exercise her arm.  Most importantly, Mariah’s son, Jacob (Jaeden Bettencourt), loves her!

It all seems perfect, except … uh oh!  It turns out that Tara is the daughter of Mariah’s dead client and she’s out for revenge!

What Worked?

Oh my God, the houses were to die for!  Seriously, one of the things that I love about Lifetime films is that they always take place in these huge houses, the majority of which have a pool in the back yard.  But, even by the standards of Lifetime, this film featured some nice houses.  In fact, Greg and Mariah’s house was so nice that I was half expecting Greg to reveal that he worked as a money launderer for the mob.  But no, Greg’s job had something to do with computers.  Having seen this film, I’m now encouraging my boyfriend to get an IT-related job because I could have a lot of fun with a house that big.

However, it wasn’t just Greg and Mariah who had a nice house.  Tara also had a really nice house, too.  For that matter, when Greg, Mariah, and Jacob were forced to stay in a motel for a night, the motel looked really, really good.

From her first appearance, Tara established herself as being a classic Lifetime villain and Camila Banus really threw herself into the role.  From the minute Tara showed up, she was like, “This is my film and now, everyone’s at my mercy!”  A film like this is only as good as its villain and Tara was a great one.

What Did Not Work?

What happened to Eugene?  The well-meaning but intellectually disabled groundskeeper (played by David Meyers) seemed like he was going to be an important character but then he just kinda disappeared.  It was hard not to feel that the character deserved a resolution to his subplot, as minor as it may have been.

Other than that, it all worked!  I mean, I could sit here and wonder if perhaps Tara could have come with a simpler revenge scheme (spoiler: she could have) but that would be kind of silly on my part.  Melodrama is one of the reasons why I love Lifetime movies!  Besides, how can you go wrong when you’ve got a great psycho and a big house?

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moments

While I personally would never plot anyone’s downfall, I still found myself admiring how organized Tara was about it.  You could tell that she probably made out a To-Do List before she set about destroying Mariah’s life:

  1. Become a caregiver
  2. Get hired
  3. Brainwash Jacob
  4. Drug Mariah…

And so on and so forth.  At least, that’s what I would do.

Lessons Learned

With enough planning and preparation, there’s nothing you can’t accomplish.

Plus, computer people make hella money!

What Lisa Watched Last Night #184: Prescription For Danger (dir by Caroline Labrèche)


Last night, I watched Prescription for Danger on Lifetime!

Why Was I Watching It?

Much like The Wrong Daughter, this was another Lifetime movie that I somehow missed when it originally aired.  Lifetime was nice enough to rebroadcast it last night, which gave me a chance to get caught up!

What Was It About?

Imagine two people who appear to have it all.

On the one hand, you have Ivy (Joanne Kelly).  Ivy is a smart and successful businesswoman.  She’s driven, often to the point of distraction.  She’s put her personal life on hold and it’s paid off with a lot of success at a young age.  Of course, as a result, she’s still single.  And she’s been suffering from terrible migraines ever since college.  When she finally pushes herself too far, she collapses and finally has to go to the hospital.

And then there’s Dr. Mark Ryan (Shaun Benson).  At first glance, he appears to be intelligent, kind, professional, and dedicated.  Of course, there is a woman who is suing him but Dr. Ryan swears that she’s crazy.  And Dr. Ryan has been fined in the past for ethical lapses but then again, who hasn’t?

When Dr. Ryan examines Ivy, he announces to her that she has brain cancer but that he has the perfect cure!  But what if Ivy doesn’t have cancer?  What if Dr. Ryan is lying to her and giving her placebos just because he’s a manipulative sociopath?

And, if that’s bad enough, what if Ivy finds herself falling in love with him?

What Worked?

Joanne Kelly and Shaun Benson both did a good job in the leading roles.  Benson, who previously played another Lifetime psycho in Kept Woman, was convincing both as a caring doctor and a totally unhinged madman.  You understood why Ivy was willing to trust the doctor and, at the same time, you couldn’t wait to see him get his final comeuppance.

Director Caroline Labrèche did a great job of visually putting us into Ivy’s mind, especially when she was on the verge of collapsing at the start of the film.  As melodramatic as the plot was, Labreche actually told her story in a relatively low-key fashion, one that was certainly different from what we typically expect from a Lifetime movie.

What Did Not Work?

At the same time, the film’s relatively low-key approach was something of a double-edged sword.  On the one hand, you had to appreciate the fact that the film was attempting to take its story seriously.  At the same time, as a regular Lifetime viewer, I couldn’t help but regret that the film didn’t take the opportunity to go totally over-the-top.  Maybe I’ve been spoiled by the Stalked By My Doctor films.

(Then again — and this is why you should probably ignore most critics — if the film had gone over-the-top, it’s likely that people online would have complained that it was just trying to be another Stalked By My Doctor.  Ultimately, the only critic that matters is you, the viewer.)

“OMG!  Just like me!” Moments

I related to Ivy, in both her drive to be successful and her hesitation about dealing with hospitals and doctors.  If, God forbid, I was every told that I needed chemotherapy, I would have had much the same reaction as Ivy.  Joanne Kelly did a good job of bringing her to life,

 Lessons Learned

Trust no one, which seems to be a pretty common lesson to be learned from Lifetime films.  If you didn’t already distrust doctors as a result of the Stalked By My Doctor films, you certainly will after Prescription for Danger.  (Except, of course, for the doctor who I see for my ADD, because he is seriously a prince!)

What Lisa Watched Last Night #183: The Wrong Daughter (dir by Ben Myerson)


Last night, I watched The Wrong Daughter on the Lifetime Movie Network!

Why Was I Watching It?

I think I must have missed The Wrong Daughter when it originally premiered on Lifetime.  Maybe I was out spying on the neighbors or something.  Who knows?  Fortunately, Lifetime always shows their movies about a hundred different times during the year so, last night, I got a chance to catch up!

What Was It About?

Kate (Cindy Busby) has a lot to deal with!  Not only is she trying to open up her own restaurant but she and Joe (Jon Prescott) are desperate to start a family.  In the aftermath of another failed IVF treatment, Kate promptly starts repainting the nursery and talking about how she could turn the room into an office.  (Interestingly, they live in a pretty big house so I’m kind of surprised she didn’t have an office already.)  However, Joe has a solution!  Maybe Kate could try to track down the girl that she gave up for adoption 17 years ago!

Meanwhile, 18 year-old Samantha (Sydney Sweeney) is just about to get kicked out of her group home.  Abandoned by her mother when she was born, Samantha has never been adopted.  Why not?  Well, it might have something to do with Samantha being slightly psychotic.  And while you may be thinking that Samantha is probably Kate’s long lost daughter, she’s not!  However, her roommate is!  When Samantha runs away and steals Danica’s (Sierra Pond) laptop, she discovers a message from Kate, announcing that she’s Danica’s mother and inviting Danica to come see her.

Soon, Samantha is at Kate’s restaurant, dressed demurely, claiming to be Danica, and working her way into Kate and Joe’s life.  Meanwhile, the real Danica just wants her laptop back.  Samantha, however, is happy being Danica and is willing to do anything — from bribing an old homeless woman to pretend to be the head of the group home when Kate calls to murdering anyone who turns their back on her — to remains so.

What Worked?

This was a pretty good example of the “killer imposter” genre of Lifetime films.  Movies like this pretty much live and die based on the performance of the imposter and Sydney Sweeney did a good job playing the duplicitous Samantha.  It was especially fun to watch her switch back and forth between being demure Danica and murderous Samantha.

What Did Not Work?

How naive can one person be?  That’s kind of the question that I had to ask about Kate, who was both a savvy businesswoman and yet somehow was easily fooled by even the most obvious of Samantha’s lies.  As much fun as it was to watch Kate get fooled over the phone by a crazy homeless woman, it was still hard not to wonder how that could have possibly happened in the first place.

“OMG!  Just like me!” Moments

From the minute Samantha first climbed through the window of her group home, I started having flashbacks.  That’s the same way that I used to sneak out of the house.  When you’re growing up in the suburbs, it helps to be a good climber.

Lessons Learned

Protect your laptop with you life.

What The Hell Did Lisa Watched Last Night #182: The Proposal Episode 1


Though I’m really hesitant to admit it and I’ll probably deny it if anyone asks me in the future, last night I watched the first episode of the new ABC “reality dating” show, The Proposal.  How soul-searingly bad was The Proposal?  It was so bad that I am now convinced that not only is our current world about to end but also whatever world comes along to replace it is probably doomed as well.

 

Why Was I Watching It?

Because I’m an idiot.

What Was It About?

If you’ve ever watched The Bachelor, you know that it’s pretty much a tradition for the women (and the men, in the case of The Bachelorette) to announce that they can see themselves marrying the Bachelor after only knowing him for three days.  Of course, the audience at home always rolls their eyes when they say that.  We know they’ve probably been pressured to say that by the show’s producers, just like we know that there’s little chance that anyone on the show’s actually going to end up getting married to anyone else on the show.  It’s a fantasy and it’s kinda fun to get lost in it.

Well, The Proposal is basically The Bachelor on cheap steroids.  Now, instead of taking a whole three days to fall in love, The Proposal suggests that it can be done in an hour!  Woo hoo!

Here’s how last night’s show worked.  A man named Mike was sitting in a pod, hidden from the view of the audience.  Host Jesse Palmer assured us that Mike was a good guy and a police officer who deserved a good wife.  We were also told that, as the result of getting hit by a drunk driver, Mike lost part of his right leg but he was still an athlete who loved to go on hikes.  The message was clear: “If you think what’s happening is totally regressive and problematic, then you’re a terrible person who is saying that a one-legged first responder doesn’t deserve a chance at happiness.”

Ten heartbreakingly insecure women were brought out on stage.  While wearing swimsuits, each one made a pitch to Mike (who, keep in mind, was hidden from view the whole time).  Mike proceeded to cut five girls, all of whom were promptly ordered to get off the stage.  Mike then asked the five remaining girls a question.  Based on their answers, two girls were cut and three were left on stage.

From the beginning, it was obvious that the final three were going to be Jessica, Monica, and Kendal.  Jessica and Monica were the most attractive while Kendal was the only one who had a real job.  In fact, Kendal was a neuropsychologist who spoke movingly about how happy it made her to help stroke victims.  Given Mike’s own stated to desire to want to inspire people and create something good from his accident, Kendal seemed like the perfect choice…

Until, Mike’s best friend, Andrew, asked some questions!  Andrew wanted to know if the women were interested in having children. Kendal said that she didn’t want to have children.  The audience gasped in horror and Kendal got this panicked look on her face.  Oh my God, I’ve missed out on my chance to get proposed to by a man I’ve never seen before because I was honest about not wanting to have children!

Mike announced that the final two would be Monica and Jessica.  Sorry, Kendal!  I guess you should have lied until you got that ring!

Once Kendal was gone, the pod opened and Mike emerged.  Everyone breathed a sign of relief as Mike turned out to be a generically handsome guy who basically looked like a cop.  (He even sported the shaved head look that is oddly popular among police officers.)  At this point, I was sure that Monica and Jessica would get a chance to ask a question but no.  That’s not the way The Proposal works.  The fact that Mike looked like he might be distantly related to Wentworth Miller was good enough.  There was no need to know how he voted or if he was religious or if he drank or anything else.  Instead, Moncia and Jessica were sent backstage to work on their final plea and change into a nicer outfit.

After a commercial break, both Jessica and Monica returned and made their final pleas but it didn’t really matter what they had to say.  Mike was staring at Monica even while Jessica was talking.  Mike announced that he had been smitten with Monica from the first time he saw her an hour ago.  He got down on his one knee and proposed to her.  She said yes.  While Jessica silently headed backstage, Monica and Mike shared their first kiss.

“You’re a wonderful kisser,” she told her bald pod person, before adding, “Just wait until later!”

What Worked

Oh God.

Actually, let’s give credit where credit is due.  The off-stage announcer was properly snarky as each women was introduced.  The tone basically said, “Yeah, I can’t believe this is actually happening, either.”

Plus, I had a lot of fun live tweeting the event!  My anxiety was acting up something awful all day yesterday but making fun of The Proposal on twitter helped me calm down.

What Did Not Work

Every single moment of this show was icky and regressive.  Imagine The Bachelor without any of The Bachelor‘s goofy charm and you’ve got The Proposal.

“OH MY GOD!  Just like me!” Moments

None.  Absolutely none.  Well, okay — I did relate to the women’s obvious terror when, at the beginning of the show, they were forced to walk down a steep staircase in high heels.  I’m amazed that everyone made it down safely.

 Lessons Learned

The world is doomed.

Also, I’ll apparently watch anything.  What’s really sad is I know I’m probably going to watch next week’s episode, too.